List of former championships in WWE

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In professional wrestling, championships are competed for in scripted storylines by a company or promotion's roster of contracted wrestlers.[1] WWE is a Stamford, Connecticut-based sports entertainment company primarily focused on professional wrestling. The promotion was founded in 1952 as the Capitol Wrestling Corporation (CWC).[2] In the company's 50-year history, over twenty different unique championships have been operated and contended for. These titles consisted of divisional, special stipulations, and weight-class championships. Of these titles, nineteen have been retired and succeeded through replacement titles or title unifications. The first retired championship was in 1967 with the WWWF United States Tag Team Championship (created in 1953), while the most recent was the WWE Divas Championship (created in 2008) in April 2016. The following is a compilation of the company's former championships that were once active and contended for by its roster.

History

1950–1969

In 1953, CWC became a member of the National Wrestling Alliance (NWA). During this time, CWC wrestlers could compete for championships operated by the NWA.[3] In 1958, the CWC created the United States Tag Team Championship (the first title ever owned by WWE), which inaugural champions Mark Lewin and Don Curtis won in April of that year.[4] In 1963, CWC was renamed as the WWWF and ended its partnership with the NWA.[5] To reflect the changes, the WWWF introduced its world heavyweight championship (WWE's second overall championship and the current WWE Championship),[6] while the WWWF acronym was added to the United States Tag Team Titles. The titles were disbanded in 1967 without a formal announcement by the WWWF, and thus, the first tag team championship (and first championship overall) to be retired by the promotion.[4] Ten years later, the company retired its first individually contested title, the WWWF United States Heavyweight Championship, also without a formal announcement.[7]

1970–1999

The WWWF formed a partnership with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW), Universal Wrestling Federation (UWF), and Universal Wrestling Association (UWA) between the 1970s and 1980s, and as a result, created and lent titles to these promotions.[8][9][10] In 1979, the promotion renamed itself to the WWF and six years later ended its partnerships with NJPW and UWF.[2][11] This resulted in the retirement of one UWF and three NJPW lent titles: the WWF International Heavyweight Championship (UWF),[8] WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship,[12] WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship,[a][13] and WWF International Tag Team Championship (NJPW).[10] The company also ceased operations of three short-lived titles: the WWF North American Heavyweight Championship (1979–1981),[14] WWF Canadian Championship (1985–1986),[15] and WWF Women's Tag Team Championship (1983–1989).[16] Despite their names, the geographic-name-based titles were not restricted to wrestlers from that location.[14][15] During the 1990s, the WWF ended its relationship with the UWA; as a result, the WWF Intercontinental Tag Team Championship[17] was abandoned, while the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship (which UWA possessed) was reactivated in the United States for use by the WWF.[9] In 1996, the Million Dollar Championship, a title created by Ted DiBiase, was retired, although it was never sanctioned by the WWF, but was reintroduced briefly in 2010 by Ted DiBiase Jr.[18]

2000–present

In March 2001, the WWF acquired all assets of World Championship Wrestling (WCW), including its championships.[19] Of these titles, the WWF operated the WCW World Heavyweight,[20] World Tag Team,[21] and Cruiserweight championships.[22] In late 2001, the WWF discontinued the WCW World Heavyweight (which was unified with the WWF Championship) and Tag Team Championships[20][21] while the WWF Light Heavyweight Championship was retired in favor of the Cruiserweight, which would also be retired in 2007. In 2002, WWF was renamed to WWE,[23] and during this year, WWE discontinued the WWE Hardcore and European Championships after they were unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship.[24][25]

WWE also acquired all assets of Extreme Championship Wrestling (ECW) in 2003, and implemented the ECW brand in 2006, along with the reactivated the ECW World Heavyweight Championship;[26] however, when the brand closed in 2010, the title was retired after Ezekiel Jackson became the last champion on the final episode of the ECW on Syfy series.[27] The World Tag Team Championship, established in 1971, and WWE Tag Team Championship, introduced in 2002, were unified on April 9, 2009, maintaining separate title histories as the "Unified WWE Tag Team Championship". However, on August 16, 2010, the older title was retired in favor of keeping the newer title as the sole tag team championship contended for in WWE. The champions, The Hart Dynasty (David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd) were awarded a new set of belts that represented the 2002 championship, and were thus recognized as the final holders of the original World Tag Team Championship.[28][29]

The original WWE Women's Championship, established in 1956, and the WWE Divas Championship, introduced in 2008, were unified on September 19, 2010, maintaining the title history of the Divas Championship. The older title was retired in favor of keeping the newer title as the sole championship contended for in WWE by the Divas. The self-professed co-Women's Champion Michelle McCool defeated Divas Champion Melina at Night of Champions to become the unified champion, thus making Layla the final holder of the Women's Championship.[30][31] On April 3, 2016, at WrestleMania 32, Divas Champion Charlotte was originally scheduled to defend her title in a triple-threat match. At the event, however, the Divas Championship was replaced with a new WWE Women's Championship, with the winner of the triple-threat match becoming the inaugural champion, thus Charlotte was the final holder of the Divas Championship.

The World Heavyweight Championship was established in 2002 as a second world championship in WWE during the time of the first brand extension. During this period, the World Heavyweight Championship would be the primary championship for either the Raw or Smackdown brand, with the WWE Championship on the other. The brand extension ended in 2011, allowing both championships to appear on both shows. On December 15, 2013, World Heavyweight Champion John Cena faced WWE Champion Randy Orton in a match at TLC: Tables, Ladders & Chairs, where the World Heavyweight Championship was unified with the WWE Championship as Orton defeated Cena. At the event, it was announced that the unified titles would be called the "WWE World Heavyweight Championship". WWE officially recognized Orton as the final World Heavyweight Champion, and retired the title.

Defunct championships

The World Heavyweight Championship (shown being worn by record seven-time champion Edge) served as a second world championship in WWE from 2002-2013.
The ECW Championship (shown being held by two-time champion Christian) served as a third world championship in WWE from 2006-2010, primarily in the ECW brand.
The World Tag Team Championship (shown being worn by two-time champion John Cena) was active from 1971 to 2010.
The WWE Cruiserweight Championship (shown being held by former champion Matt Hardy) was officially recognized as established in 1991 by WCW, brought to WWE in 2001 following its purchase of WCW, and remained active until 2007.
The Million Dollar Championship (shown being worn by Ted DiBiase Jr.) was active from 1989 to 1992, 1995 to 1996, and in 2010.
The WWE Divas Championship (shown being held by record three-time champion AJ Lee) was active from 2008 to 2016.
No. Championship Date of entry First champion(s)
(Tag team name)
Date retired Final champion(s)
(Tag team name)
Years active Notes
1 WWWF United States Tag Team Championship July 1958 Don Curtis and Mark Lewin July 29, 1967 Arion, SpirosSpiros Arion and Bruno Sammartino 9 The title was retired without a formal announcement.[4]
2 WWWF United States Heavyweight Championship April 6, 1963 Bobo Brazil March 1, 1976 Brazil, BoboBobo Brazil 13 The title was retired without a formal announcement.[7]
3 WWF North American Heavyweight Championship February 13, 1979 Ted DiBiase March 20, 1981 Seiji Sakaguchi 2 The title was retired without a formal announcement.[14]
4 WWF International Heavyweight Championship July 1959 Antonino Rocca July 23, 1984 Akira Maeda 25 The title was retired without a formal announcement.[8]
5 WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship September 1965 Paul DeGalles October 31, 1985 The Cobra 20 The title was retired after NJPW and the WWF ended their partnership.[12]
6 WWF International Tag Team Championship June 1, 1969 Toru Tanaka and Mitsu Arakawa
(Rising Suns)
October 31, 1985 Tatsumi Fujinami and Kengo Kimura 16 The title was retired after NJPW and the WWF ended their partnership.[10]
7 WWF Canadian Championship August 18, 1985 Dino Bravo January 22, 1986 Dino Bravo <1 Bravo was the only champion as a result of the WWF abandoning the title without a formal announcement.[15]
8 WWF Women's Tag Team Championship May 13, 1983 Velvet McIntyre and Princess Victoria February 14, 1989 Leilani Kai and Judy Martin
(The Glamour Girls)
6 The title was abandoned by the WWF without a formal announcement.[16]
9 WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship December 18, 1978 Antonio Inoki December 31, 1989 Antonio Inoki 11 The title was retired after NJPW and the WWF ended their partnership.[a][13]
10 WWF Intercontinental Tag Team Championship January 7, 1991 Perro Aguayo and Gran Hamada July 1991 Perro Aguayo and Gran Hamada <1 Aguayo and Hamada were the only champions as a result of the WWF retiring the title without a formal announcement.[17]
11 WCW Tag Team Championship March 23, 2001[b] Sean O' Haire and Chuck Palumbo[c] November 18, 2001 Bubba Ray and D-Von Dudley
(Dudley Boyz)
<1 The title was retired after it was unified with the WWF Tag Team Championship.[21]
12 WWF Light Heavyweight Championship December 7, 1997[d] Taka Michinoku November 30, 2001 X-Pac 4 The title was replaced with the WCW Cruiserweight Championship without a formal announcement.[a][9]
13 WCW Championship March 23, 2001[b] Booker T[c] December 9, 2001 Chris Jericho <1 The title was retired after it was unified with the WWF Championship.[20]
14 WWE European Championship February 26, 1997 The British Bulldog July 22, 2002 Rob Van Dam 5 The title was retired after it was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship.[24][32]
15 WWE Hardcore Championship November 2, 1998 Mankind August 26, 2002 Rob Van Dam 4 The title was retired after it was unified with the WWE Intercontinental Championship.[33]
16 WWE Cruiserweight Championship March 23, 2001[b] Shane Helms[c] September 28, 2007 Hornswoggle 7 The title was retired without a formal announcement by WWE. This is not the same title as the current WWE Cruiserweight Championship.[22]
17 ECW Championship June 13, 2006[e] Rob Van Dam[c] February 16, 2010 Ezekiel Jackson 4 The title was retired on the final episode of ECW with the closure of WWE's ECW brand.[27]
18 World Tag Team Championship June 3, 1971 Luke Graham and Tarzan Tyler August 16, 2010[f] David Hart Smith and Tyson Kidd
(The Hart Dynasty)
39 The title was retired in favor of the WWE Tag Team Championship in April 2010, following a year of the two titles being defended together under the umbrella title of "Unified WWE Tag Team Championship".[28][29]
19 WWE Women's Championship September 18, 1956 The Fabulous Moolah September 19, 2010 Layla 54 The title was retired in favor of the WWE Divas Championship after the unification of both titles on September 19, 2010.[34][35]
20 Million Dollar Championship February 15, 1989 Ted DiBiase November 15, 2010 Ted DiBiase, Jr. <5[a] Ted DiBiase created the title, although it was never officially sanctioned by WWF/WWE. Ted DiBiase, Jr. abandoned the title after it was stolen by Goldust on October 4 and Aksana on November 8. The title was retired without a formal announcement.[36]
21 World Heavyweight Championship September 2, 2002 Triple H December 16, 2013 Randy Orton 11 Title unified with the WWE Championship at the TLC pay-per-view[37]
22 WWE Divas Championship July 20, 2008 Michelle McCool April 3, 2016 Charlotte 8 On the WrestleMania 32 pre-show, former WWE Diva and WWE Hall of Famer Lita announced that the Divas Championship triple threat match with Charlotte, Becky Lynch, and Sasha Banks would instead be for the new WWE Women's Championship. The Divas Championship was subsequently retired.[38]
  1. ^ The title was deactivated from February 1992 to December 1995, from May 1996 to April 2010, and from November 2010 onward.

See also

Footnotes

  • A:a b – The title was officially abandoned by the WWF in 1989, though it was revived by NJPW for use in its promotion only; it was discontinued by NJPW in 1992.[13]
  • B:a b c – This is the date the WWF acquired WCW, in which WCW's assets were also acquired by WWF, including its titles.[19]
  • C:a b c – The final champion(s) recognized by WCW before the WWF bought WCW; also recognized as the first champion(s) in which the title was operated in the WWF as a part of The Invasion storyline.[20][21]
  • D:a – This is the date the WWF began operating the title in the United States after ending its partnerships with the UWA and NJPW.[9]
  • E:a – This is the date the WWE launched the ECW brand, in which Rob Van Dam was awarded the title as a result of winning the WWE Championship on June 11, 2006.
  • F:a - This is the date upon which WWE consolidated the unification of both its tag team championships, and continued to recognize only one championship to be contended in its tag team division.

References

  1. ^ "Live & Televised Entertainment". WWE Corporate. World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  2. ^ a b "Antonio Rocca". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-03-01. Before it was ever known as WWE, the World Wrestling Federation, or even the World Wide Wrestling Federation, Antonino Rocca was the top Superstar in the company. 
  3. ^ Hornbaker, Tim (2006). National Wrestling Alliance: The Untold Story of the Monopoly That Strangled Pro Wrestling. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1-55022-741-3. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  4. ^ a b c "WWWF United States Tag Team Title History". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan & Gary Will. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  5. ^ "Vince McMahon". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  6. ^ "Buddy Rogers' WWE Championship reign (April 1963 - May 17, 1963)". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on August 28, 2005. Retrieved 2009-03-02. 
  7. ^ a b Duncan, Royal; Gary Will (1994). "United States: 19th Century & Widely defended Titles - NWA, WWF, AWA, IWA, ECW, NWA". Wrestling Title Histories (3 ed.). Archeus Communications. p. 27. ISBN 0-9698161-1-1. 
  8. ^ a b c "WWF/UWF International Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  9. ^ a b c d "WWF Light Heavyweight Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  10. ^ a b c "WWF International Tag Team Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  11. ^ "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Drops The "F" To Emphasize the "E" for Entertainment". World Wrestling Entertainment. 2002-05-06. Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-03-01. 
  12. ^ a b "WWF Junior Heavyweight Championship". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  13. ^ a b c "WWF World Martial Arts Heavyweight Championship". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  14. ^ a b c "WWF North American Heavyweight Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  15. ^ a b c "WWF Canadian Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan and Gary Will. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-05. 
  16. ^ a b "WWF Women's Tag Team Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  17. ^ a b "WWF/UWA Intercontinental Tag Team Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  18. ^ Milner, John. "Ted DiBiase Biography". SLAM! Sports. Canadian Online Explorer. Retrieved 2009-03-08. If he couldn't win the WWE Championship and he couldn't buy the WWE Championship, Dibiase decided to purchase his own championship, introducing "the Million Dollar Belt" to the WWE. The title was never official and rarely did Dibiase even bother "defending" the title. 
  19. ^ a b "WWE Entertainment, Inc. Acquires WCW from Turner Broadcasting". WWE Corporate. World Wrestling Entertainment. 2001-03-21. Archived from the original on 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  20. ^ a b c d "History of the WCW World Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  21. ^ a b c d "WCW World Tag Team Championship Title History (1991–2001)". Wrestling Title Histories by Royal Duncan & Gary Will. Solie's Title Histories. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  22. ^ a b "WWE Cruiserweight Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  23. ^ "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Drops The "F" To Emphasize the "E" for Entertainment". WWE Corporate. World Wrestling Entertainment. 2002-05-06. Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  24. ^ a b "History of the WWE European Championship: Jeff Hardy". World Wrestling Entertainment. Archived from the original on 2008-07-24. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  25. ^ "WWE Hardcore Championship reign history". Wrestling Title Histories by Gary Will and Royal Duncan. Solie.org. Retrieved 2009-03-08. 
  26. ^ "History of the ECW Championship: Rob Van Dam". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  27. ^ a b "History of the ECW Championship: Ezekiel Jackson". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-09. 
  28. ^ a b "History of the World Tag Team Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  29. ^ a b "History of the WWE Tag Team Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-20. 
  30. ^ "History of the WWE Women's Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  31. ^ "History of the WWE Divas Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-21. 
  32. ^ "The History of the WWE European Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2009-03-14. 
  33. ^ "The History of the WWE Hardcore Championship". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-02-16. 
  34. ^ Raymond-Santo, Katie A. (2010-09-24). "Flawless mark on history". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-26. 
  35. ^ "Hall of Women's Champions". World Wrestling Entertainment. Retrieved 2010-09-26. Layla is the last-ever Women's Champion. 
  36. ^ Keller, Wade (2010-11-15). "Keller's WWE Raw report 11/15: Special three-hour old school Raw with great angle at end, Jim Ross returns, Piper steps up, more". Pro Wrestling Torch. Retrieved 2010-11-16. 
  37. ^ WWE Staff (March 21, 2011). "Retired championships". WWE.com. WWE. Archived from the original on January 9, 2016. Retrieved January 11, 2016. 
  38. ^ "All-new WWE Women's Championship introduced at WrestleMania". WWE. April 3, 2016. Retrieved April 3, 2016. 

Further reading

  • Duncan, Royal (2000). Wrestling Title Histories. Gary Will (4 ed.). Archeus Communications. ISBN 0-9698161-5-4. 

External links

  • WWE Official website
  • WWE retired championship histories
  • Wrestling-Titles.com: WWE
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